January 25, 2022

U of Calgary’s New EMI Music Archive is a Treasure Trove of Canadian Music History

From U. of Calgary:

Records from artists like Nickelback, April Wine, and Tom Cochrane might not be the first items to come to mind when you think of university library collections, but a recent acquisition could change that for the University of Calgary. The university library has acquired the entire EMI Music Canada archive from Universal Music Canada, which includes thousands of boxes worth of documents, master recordings, demo tapes, album cover art, and publicity photos from a wide range of Canadian music acts.

Over 63 years in business, EMI signed or distributed more than 200 Canadian artists, including iconic musicians like Tom Cochrane, Anne Murray, Paul Anka, Sarah McLachlan, Burton Cummings and Robbie Robertson. UMC acquired EMI in 2012 and since then, there has been speculation on where the collection would end up.

Tom Hickerson, vice-provost of libraries and cultural resources at U of C, says UMC originally considered donating the archive to Calgary’s new National Music Centre. However, the CEO of the NMC decided the archive would be better suited to an institution which could use the collection for research and teaching purposes.

“It has just a diversity of potential research approaches to it,” Mr. Hickerson says. “Just think of it as a cultural record over the last half of the 20th century.”


The collection spans 63 years and includes 18,000 video recordings, 21,000 audio recordings, and two million photographs and documents. Since the collection is so large, it will be transferred to the university in truckload shipments over the next three-and-a-half years.

Read the Complete Article

*** Search and Browse EMI Music Collection ***

See Also: Learn More in this Backgrounder from U. of Calgary (2 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.